Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sounding Circles 2011: Discovering Watsu

Joule gave us all a wonderful gift of a 15-minute sampler of a special kind of massage called Watsu. "Watsu" is a made up word, a combo of "water" and "shiatsu." It's accupressure massage done while floating in a pool of body temperature water. I've been receiving watsu massage for more than 10 years, and it is one of my favorite things. It's the closest to flying I will ever get in this body without additional equipment.

Sarah, our delightful watsu practitioner, had us slotted one after another in 15-minute increments. That morning, we had been chanting again with Lanikila, learning the Hawaiian alphabet, and another chant. After Sarah had completed the last watsu, she commented that it felt like she was working on one person. That each of us had such similar energy and feel, she felt like we were all one. It was quite a remarkable experience, and something that folks who study chant comment on as well.

Later in the week, I had the opportunity to have a longer watsu session with Sarah. I highly recommend this gentle, soothing type of massage. Watsu at Kalani Retreat

Sounding Circles 2011: Traditional Hawaiian Opening Ceremony

One of the things I really loved about Sounding Circles 2011 was the way we embraced the Hawaiian traditions as best we could. Joule arranged for a delightful and powerful chanter named Lanikila to lead us in a traditional Hawaiian opening ceremony.

Lanikila taught us a chant in which we claimed our own space, that spoke of how we are part of everything from the east to the west, from one edge of the Universe to the other. We created an altar where we had placed a crystal bowl. Each of us had brought some water from our homes to be combined with the others, and then carried back We were also invited to bring a few special things to be placed on the altar during the week, items that symbolized the lessons we wanted to learn and take away.

Then Lanikila sat quietly and asked us, one at a time, "who are you?" To Hawaiians, you name your parents and grandparents and where they came from, and then describe yourself as part of the land. Lanikila said that his parents were from Hawai'i Island, and at least one grandparent was from Scotland. He said that his ocean was the Pacific, and his mountain was Mauna Kea. He went on to name other places that he identified with.

I said, for example, that my parents and grandparents came from New Mexico and Texas. My mountains were the Rocky Mountains. That my trees were the aspen. That I came from the Sky and the Clouds, and felt very old. I brought water from my house, and because I live in the country, we catch our own rain. It was nice to have water that hadn't (recently) touched the ground.

I brought a clay smile that I had made in an art therapy workshop, and a few items that tended to end up inside the clay mouth.

After everyone had said who they were, where they were from and had brought their water, we felt like we were off to a great start.

Sounding Circles: Healing with a Group Voice

I was fortunate enough to be asked to assist at Joule L'Adara's Sounding  Circles Retreat at the fabulous Kalani Retreat Center. Joule, who has a wonderful, classically trained, operatic voice, has a calling to bring groups of people together to collectively help them heal their voices, and reclaim their right to be heard.

Joule is created a simple group workshop that gently introduces each person to their own voice, and then to the experience -- or "explorience" as she calls it -- what it is like to bring a single voice into a group.

One of the limiting factors in people's ability to sing turns out to be vision. Looking at one another can be very intimidating, so Joule removes that judgment by asking participants to wear blindfolds. She recommends a special version that allows you to have complete darkness even while your eyes are open -- a product called the Mindfold.

One participants are blindfolded, they get comfortable on yoga mats and prepare for a Sound Bath. Joule plays a variety of instruments in an intuitive and improvisational way. When Joule and I offered Sounding Circles workshops around Hawai'i last month, I played harp while she played chimes, singing bowls, rattles, shakers, and other percussive instruments. She also played specialized tuning forks on each person to further the relaxation.

The next step is to give participants permission to make sounds with their voices and bodies. Joule leads the participants through simple singing exercises, but also encourages sounds that your mother wouldn't like. Honking, snorting, bubbling, giggling, whooping, and sounding like a siren are all part of the fun. It's self-indulgent exploration of the whole mouth, head and body.

Gradually, Joule begins to bring the group together, still making delicious, wonderful sounds. But she asks participants to begin to listen to each other and respond to each other in an improvisational kind of way. Each group composition is different and lovely as a snowflake.

Finally, Joule closes the workshop with silence. Having made all the wonderful, joyful sound, it's time to experience and explorience the silence, listening in a whole new way.

Sounding Circles are great fun, and I'm looking forward to bringing these workshops to Hawai'i Island.

Sounding Circles 2011: What is Healing?

I have just finished the Sounding Circles retreat with Joule L'Adara. Her wonderful week-long workshop/retreat helped me to come to a deeper understanding of healing, especially in the context of Sound Healing.

Healing is not Curing.

Let me say that again. Healing is Not Curing.

Healing is a process that brings peace of mind to a person, so that they can better handle the situation in front of them. A cure is much more likely in a person who can create peace of mind at will. A person who has healed can remain in a peaceful state of mind and heart, no matter what is happening.

Music and sound have the ability to bring someone into a peaceful state of being, and because of that, offer the gift of healing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sound Healing at the Kohala Yoga Community Center

Wowee, what a great time I had performing with Joule L'Adara of Sounding Circles at the Kohala Yoga Community Center in Kapa'au, Kohola, Island of Hawai'i.

Joule brought singing bowls, chimes, rattles, and tuning forks. I played harp, while Joule touched the tuning forks to various acupuncture points on the participants. We toned a bit at the end, and declared it a marvelous evening. We made new friends with Georgena Newman, owner, and look forward to coming back next year.

Writing Letters to Home - Reiki Healing Harp - Island of Molokai

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sounding Circle Concert: Kapa'au, HI, July 7

In connection with the 2011 Sounding Circles Retreat, there will a series of community sounding circles around the Big Island the first week of July.

Join Joule L'adara for Sounding Circles - led improvisational vocal sound-healing events designed to relax, energize and rejuvenate your mind/body/spirit.

You will begin by laying on the floor as the sounds of bowls, bells, chimes, vocals and harp wash over you. Then you will be lead through a joyous group vocal exploration, while wearing masks that shut out the light but allow you to keep your eyes open, thus freeing you from judgment of self and others and opening you to creativity and freedom! The practice of toning on intention will be taught along with techniques for sending sound vibrations into your own body for self-healing. No vocal or musical experience necessary (though musicians and sound healers will gain much from these group exercises.) Experience gentle profound-play in this invigorating playshop.

Dates and Locations:

Thursday, July 7th
Kapa'au/Hawi:
Kohala Yoga Community Center
7:30-9:00 pm

Suggested Donation $25
Pay-What-You-Can
Come for free if you can't pay

Wear comfortable clothing you can move in
Bring a yoga mat & pillow

Registration Recommended - some spaces are limited.
For more information and to register call: (310) 321-2711
Or write: joule@soundingcircles.com

Touching My Own Master: A blog by Mari Hall

http://reikidigest.blogspot.com/Touching My Own Master touched me. I have never been one to look for outside help when it comes to spiritual matters. It was a pleasure to read such a beautiful essay that expressed my own experience so well.

Thanks, Mari!


Touching My Own Master is an article on The Reiki Digest blog.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sounding Circles concerts on the Big Island

I will be joining Joule L'Adara in all but the first of these concerts. Please come and experience this *play-shop* with us:

Sounding Circles Presents: For-The-Community Events!

In connection with the 2011 Sounding Circles Retreat, there will a series of community sounding circles around the Big Island the first week of July.

Join Joule L'adara for Sounding Circles - led improvisational vocal sound-healing events designed to relax, energize and rejuvenate your mind/body/spirit.

You will begin by laying on the floor as the sounds of bowls, bells, chimes, vocals and harp wash over you. Then you will be lead through a joyous group vocal exploration, while wearing masks that shut out the light but allow you to keep your eyes open, thus freeing you from judgment of self and others and opening you to creativity and freedom! The practice of toning on intention will be taught along with techniques for sending sound vibrations into your own body for self-healing. No vocal or musical experience necessary (though musicians and sound healers will gain much from these group exercises.) Experience gentle profound-play in this invigorating playshop.

Dates and Locations:

Tuesday, July 5th
Hilo
Patricia's Transitions
5:30-7:00 pm

Thursday, July 7th
Kapa'au/Hawi
Kohala Yoga Community Center
7:30-9:00 pm

Sunday, July 10th & Monday, July 11
Waimea
Green Church
6:30-8:00 pm

Thursday, July 14th
Puna:
Kalani Oceanside Retreat
Blue Moon Room
7:30-9:00 pm

Suggested Donation $25
Pay-What-You-Can
Come for free if you can't pay

Wear comfortable clothing you can move in
Bring a yoga mat & pillow

Registration Recommended - some spaces are limited.
For more information and to register call: (310) 321-2711
Or write: joule@soundingcircles.com